The extent multinationals are monopolising the talent pool in Kenya
Conrad Akunga, a director and founder at Kenya-based software company Innova Limited, is feeling the impact of multinationals like Google and Microsoft siphoning the best tech minds Kenya has to offer since he has already lost some of his engineers to “various players,” he says.
But speaking in a recent online forum, he doesn’t dispute that the presence of big players is generally a good thing to stimulate the Kenyan economy and encourage talent development.
“I think more should come—Netflix, Facebook, Tinder, even Only Fans,” Akunga said. Part of the benefit is having more local talent working in international companies and building their skills that will benefit the ecosystem through mentorship. Then some who work in these multinationals can soon rejoin local firms and grow local technology solutions[VM1] .
At the moment, however, the ecosystem is sharply feeling the pinch of shifting talent, illustrating the range of opportunities to train world-class professionals to get up to speed and replace poached talent. But this takes time.
“You need 12 to 14 months to upskill developer talent,” Akunga said, explaining what companies like his need to do to fill in the gaps. “Our average retention was about four to four and a half years, which is fantastic. You’re lucky if you can get two years, so we are like double the average.”
But he stresses that while talent wars aren’t a new phenomenon, the actors have changed. Before Microsoft, KPMG, Deloitte and telecom companies were the great employers of ICT and engineering talent. The concern today is more about the small developer market.